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We just finally got enough bikes to put together the core of our White Scars bike army. It will have:
3 squads of 8 bikes, 1 in each squad an attack bike. PF on sgts. 2 squads with Meltas/MM on attack, 1 squad with flamers/HB on attack. Khan will ride with one squad, on Moondrakken.
2 each standard 10 strong marine squads with flamer and missile launcher in rhinos, PW on sgts.
2 each Typhoon Land Speeders.
May take some scouts, which we like alot, or we can play around with other options.
We usually play 1500 pts to 2000 pts, so not a whole lot of room left. Maybe 150 to 250 pts.
My question is what similar folks have run as heavy support, if anything, in these types of "suprise attack" biker armies.
If we are going to use the White Scars special Outflank rules for both rhinos and the 3 bike squads, we can deep strike or start LS on board depending.
My thinking is to drop a couple of Whirlwinds on the board and just bombs away for the first couple of turns until the army comes in. They are cheap enough that if someone rolls across the board quickly and takes them out we don't much care. Might help against horde armies, as bike armies don't have many models.
Anyone more experienced with bike armies have a better way to balance things? Take more fast attack and simply ignore heavies?
Predator/Vindicator -- sitting ducks with army not around to offer other targets
Land Raider -- big point sink, not supporting anything or delivering anything, just tough for some opponents
Thunderfire Cannon -- too flimsy, rather have Whirlwinds I can hide behind terrain, if I can find it
Devastators -- have some uses, but still facing a lot of fire if army is off Outflanking
If we drop pod anything, at least half of it would come in unsupported.
So, that leaves -- Whirlwinds that we can hide, or just take Outflanking Assault Marines to go where bikes and others can't go, go there quickly, and bring flamers on them and target template-vulnerable squishies?
Thanks in advance for ideas...
Last edited by CainsGreatestFear; February 13th, 2010 at 01:15.
You may want to join the Realm of Speed.
Outflanking a biker army does not necessarily make sense, to be honest. You can hit the enemy just as quickly with bikes when coming from your deployment zone, and thiat way you can keep your force together and won't lose a third to the wrong side, being split from your main force. Really, I have much experience with bikers and I have never felt the need of or seen a great advantage in outflanking them.
I also don't like full bike squads, or combat-squadded bike squads if you split them. That is because full squads are too large and combat squads just a little too fragile, whereas you can't maximize on attack bikes and upgrade weapons (which is key). Bikes are also not a mere means of delivery for Space Marines, you should not throw them into close combat as easily as you would a tactical squad.
Because combat tactics makes a lot more sense with bikes, power weapons or fists are mostly a waste and can often be your own undoing, drawing combats instead of losing them, falling back, and then either disengaging and shooting or maybe re-assaulting the enemy. Take the power fists on the tactical sergeants instead, they need them to deal with any conceivable situation, some of which will require more than a power weapon.
I would not take scouts. They slow down your army and do not accomplish very much for you. You compromise your advantage of mobility when investing in scouts, unless you buy landspeeder storms which take up your precious fast attack slots and give you five mobile scouts that can't do any real harm. Not worth the trouble.
You have named most of the best options already yourself. Bikes have much firepower, but it is neither long-ranged nor really heavy. To cope for that you need support fire. But the support units have to be mobile, unless you intend to forgo your biggest advantage. Thus tanks come to mind that can move and shoot unimpeded. These are land raiders (which are very expensive and should be used in conjuction with a hard-hitter assault unit which is even more expensive and slows you down somewhat, so: no good choice), vindicators and whirlwinds. These two tanks go well together with bike armies and I have been using them in my lists for quite some time and to great effect.
But a very viable option is also to forgo heavy support completely and get support firepower from landspeeders. The typhoon give you range and are flexible enough to kill anything. They should be the working horse of your bike army. You have two of them, but that does not play to their full potential. Take at least three wings of two each instead, and they will be able to operate independently, take out multiple units on their own each turn, get any mech armies on foot (which is key for victory with bike armies), and can harass the enemy from afar, leaving you safe and enabling you to deal with armies you do not want to get close too. The only thing they can't hurt are land raiders and monoliths. You can kill the former with a melta bike sqad easily, the latter is tough (vindicators do the trick, though, if you don't simply choose to ignore it).
So to answer your question: lots and lots of typhoon landspeeders and some vindicators are the best options for fire support in a Space Marine biker army in my experience.
Anyway: good luck! Have fun with your biker army and keep me posted on how it fares... Looking forward to some battle reports.
I've had great success in mixing in Vindicators with my bike lists - they make an excellent threat that's hard to ignore, which will give your bike troops a great deal of survivability and freedom to do as they need to. With proper use of terrain and smoke, they'll also be more survivable then you'd normally think.
6 Typhoons would be rather points-heavy (540pts) for a 1500pts list... Do you find yourself running that many at that army size?
Drop podding sternguard are foot-sloggers once they arrive on the battlefield. Drop pods are not a viable choice in a competitive bike army, because they either go unsupported and die, or the rest of the army forgoes its mobility to support them, committing to a certain area on the battlefield, and thereby forfeiting its biggest advantage. Bike armies must refrain from using units that tie them to certain locations, else they make themselves far too vulnerable.
Thus, in my opinion, these two choices -unfortunately- do not work very well in conjunction with bike armies... Maybe someday sternguard will receive the option of being mounted on bikes. Then we shall rule the battlefield uncontestedly.
Since the forums have seen a flood of inexperienced new Space Marine bike army players in the last couple of days I have started to type a Tactica: Space Marine Bike Armies yesterday. I hope to finish it today after work. Anyone interested in this topic should be sure to have an eye out for it in the finished tactica subforum.
Back on topic - speeders are a large commitment money-wise and time-wise - I learned that painting them nicely takes a lot of time for some reason. If someone is transitioning from Mech Marines to Bikes there might be a temptation to include your old units even if that not always works too good in the end.
I second Red in saying that trying to mix slow and fast is not always wise as getting bikes into CC or close proximity of nasty units, while trying to support slow models means troubles for your valuable models. I am thinking though that dual Vindicators can take some workload off those speeders if you do not want to have all 9 of them.